The past few decades have been cruel to iconic New England fish like Atlantic cod and certain flounders. The populations of these popular fish have been stuck at desperately low levels from chronic overfishing -- and when these species are, well, floundering, the rest of the ecosystem suffers too.
To help give fish a break and help restore the balance of their ocean habitats, nearly 9,000 square miles of New England's seafloor have been protected from bottom trawling -- a type of fishing for groundfish that uses indiscriminate nets -- for more than two decades. These closures have given habitat and shelter to young and spawning fish.
But faced with a difficult economic environment and a slumping fishing industry, the National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed a very shortsighted solution -- opening areas that have been closed for decades, potentially undermining future recovery. These proposed changes would reduce protected areas by about a third, reopening almost 3,000 square miles.
It's far too early to open up these areas, especially given new stresses caused by a changing climate.
Please take action. Tell the Service to support fish and the whales, seabirds and other animals that depend on them.
July 26, 2013 Action Alert ID# 108
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